Curried Cashews and Chickpeas with Almond Asparagus

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Yesterday we were out almost the whole day which meant we had fast food for breakfast and lunch. By the time dinner came we felt so gross after eating all the crap that we decided to cook on the lighter side. These recipes are actually side dishes but since we are trying to eat smaller portions it all works out. These recipes make just enough to have a serving for dinner and a serving for lunch the next day. The curry dish is rich and creamy with a greek yogurt topping and the asparagus is simple enough to not take away from the curry. These two recipes work well together without making me feel guilty after eating 🙂 I will post the recipes separately if you just want to make them as a side dish.  Perry gave the curry 5 stars and the asparagus 4 stars. Here is why:

It is no secret that we love curry. This recipe is a lot different though because Kels did not use the huge chunks of potato, chicken and carrot like she usually does. I like her traditional “stewy” curry because it is what I am used to, but I think I like this one better because it is crunchy and more creamy. It isn’t as heavy as usual either which I like because I don’t feel so huge after I eat. The asparagus was good but not as good as the curry. I think it had too much salt and not enough orange so unless Kelsey notes in the recipe I would cut the salt in half and double the orange juice. Overall the meal was delicious and we managed to keep leftovers to enjoy tomorrow for lunch.”

Serves: 4         Calories: 344

Ingredients:

For Asparagus:

  • 2 lbs asparagus, washed trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (Perry didn’t think this was enough orange juice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Perry thought this was too much salt)

For Curry: 

  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 (15oz) can of no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted cashews, you can chop these if you like but I used them whole
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tbsp fat-free plain greek yogurt

Directions for Asparagus (25 minutes) :

  1. In a large pot bring 1 inch of water to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes or until bright green. Drain and pat dry
  2. Toast nuts in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often as not to burn them for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a dish and wipe out the skillet.
  3. Coat the same skillet with cooking spray and add the asparagus and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for two minutes or until garlic starts to lightly brown. Stirring occasionally.
  4. Add orange juice and salt, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
  5. Sprinkle toasted nuts over asparagus and serve.  

For the Curry (20 minutes): 

  1. Whisk cornstarch in a small bowl with vegetable broth to dissolve. Set aside
  2. Combine oil, onion, curry powder, salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. 
  3. Add broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add chickpeas and cashews. Simmer for 5 minutes allowing the flavors to blend. Fold in the parsley.
  4. Serve with a spoonful of greek yogurt.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

** Original recipe belongs to The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook 

 

Mediterranean Pizza – ★★★★★

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This was an “on the fly” recipe because we found ourselves at the grocery store short a dinner recipe. That is what is so cool about having this blog because I was able to look it up on my phone and throw something quick and delicious together. I used my “go to crust recipe” and decided I would switch up the toppings. We went Mediterranean because as of late I’ve developed an obsession with feta. The added bonus of this recipe is that we were able to get two big pizzas out of the toppings we used. Since this was a “throw together” I do not have exact measurements for the toppings but will do my best to describe what we used. Perry loved this pizza (mainly because of the banana peppers are his fav) and gave five stars. Here is why:

This pizza is definitely not your traditional cheese and pepperoni. That is one of the things I love about Kelsey’s recipes. She strays away from the norm and uses a lot of different flavors that work really well together. This one had a combination of all our favorite toppings. I love banana peppers and black olives while Kelsey loves sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Every bite was different and equally as delicious if not more than the last. I was even able to bring left overs to work and it heated up great in the microwave. I give this pizza full stars.”

Serves: 4       Calories: 338

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (I used the one specifically for pizza crust but the original kind works great too)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup + a pinch of cornmeal
  • Tall jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced (also keep the oil to drizzle over crust before putting on toppings)
  • Medium jar of black olives, drained washed and sliced
  • Tall jar of banana peppers also known as pepperoncini
  • 5 oz. container of feta cheese, you can get the herbed kind if you like
  • Any herbs/spices you might like or have on hand (we used garlic, oregano and dill)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir in the water and olive oil. Beat about 2 minutes and stir in 1/3 cup of cornmeal and the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to make the dough ball.
  3. Sprinkle a little flour on the surface you want to knead the dough on. Knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl and let it rise for 10 minutes.
  4. Spray a cookie/baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with additional cornmeal. Press dough into a rectangular shape, and pinch with fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes (until edges start to brown)
  5. NOTE: If you want to make two pizzas only use half of the toppings per pizza. If you only want to make one pizza than go topping-crazy 🙂
  6. Drizzle olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes over crust. Don’t drizzle too much because it will come out super greasy and I am assuming it may make your crust a little soggy for left overs. A little does it 😉 Layer your tomatoes, olives, banana peppers, feta and any spices/herbs you desire on top of the crust and pop back into the oven for an additional 5-6 minutes until toppings heat through and cheese softens.
  7. Slice and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe belongs to me but you have my permission to take it and change it and publish it on your own blog. If you post it I just ask for a little mention/credit. Sharing is caring right?

Island Sliders With a Kick – ★★★★★

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These babies were just the thing to polish off the beautiful summer day today. The pineapples and chicken burger patties were juicy, flavorful, and grilled to perfection. The only thing I might add is a tsp of teriyaki sauce. All together these hit the spot and Perry deemed them worth 5 stars. Here is why:

Kelsey says that she thinks I have no faith in her when it comes to the grill, but if you’ve seen her try to cook a steak you would understand why. When she grills without a recipe that gives her an exact cooking time it is guaranteed that she will burn and overcook it. I’m thankful this recipe gave her an exact cooking time because the burgers came out excellent. I really liked the taste of the chicken patty which I was originally unsure to try. When I think of a burger I think of a medium-rare slab of beef so I was prepared to be a little disappointed. I feel like I say that a lot because Kels likes to try some strange recipes, but she really does surprise me when it all comes together. This recipe  is one of those that came together perfectly. I give full stars!”

Makes 9 sliders at 151 calories per slider

Ingredients:

  • 1-8oz can of pineapple slices, draines
  • 2-3 skewers
  • 3 slices pepper jack cheese, sliced to drape over 9 mini patties 
  • 9 slider buns
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided into 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, divided into 1/4 tsp 
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, soy sauce, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chili powder,  salt, cumin, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix and divide into 9 large even balls. Keep in mind that the mixture might be a little sticky so don’t expect the balls to be perfectly formed. Just make sure you use close to the same amount of mixture per “ball.” Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle.
  2. Mix together the remaining 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp of chili powder and sprinkle over the patties.
  3. Refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes. Do not skip this step because  it will be difficult to transfer the patties to the grill. 
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high and grease the rack with cooking spray. 
  5. Cook patties for 2-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. If you are using cheese (which I highly recommend) add it to the patties when you have a minute left on your timer.
  6. String pineapple chunks onto skewers and grill for 1-2 minutes or until you begin to see grill marks. 
  7. Toast your bun if you wish and put together your sliders. 
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is original belonging to me

**This recipe was modified but you can find the original at http://homeiswheretheholmansare.blogspot.com/

Hungarian Chicken Paprikash – ★★★★★ (Old family recipe)

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Growing up Chicken Paprikash was my dad’s go to recipe for rainy, snowy and cloudy days (or the nights my mom didn’t feel like cooking) This recipe brings back many great memories for me so I’m sorry if this entry is extremely long. I would not be doing my dad justice if I didn’t share how awesome and special his old family paprikash recipe is. I think this was my dads favorite way of giving my mom a break because he made sure we were busy and entertained for what felt like all day haha! He would load us into the car and take us to the supermarket because since this dinner was never planned we hardly ever had all the ingredients on hand. My sisters and I would unload the groceries while dad cut up the onions (I mean what little girl wants to chop onions in the first place haha) Next would be the argument over who would have to peel the carrots and who would get stuck with the potatoes… It always seemed like I got stuck with the potatoes haha! The big soup pot would be on the stove simmering for what seemed like hours emitting an amazing aroma that I’m sure even the neighbors down the street could smell. One memory that really stands out above the rest is my dads “secret ingredient.” He always made a big deal about it because supposedidly my mom didn’t know what it was. When she asked we would all put on our best Princess Bride voices and say “truuuueeeee loveeeee.” My dad was always good at taunting my mom about the secret ingredient but now as an adult she has told me she always knew it was bullion cubes haha! The second best part of cooking paprikash is always saved for last, and that is making the dumplings. Dad would always measure the egg to flour ratio and my sisters and I would take turns stirring than dropping spoonfuls of dough into the boiling paprikash. As an adult this is still one of my favorite parts because I can still hear my sister Katelyn laughing as I made the biggest dumplings while splashing hot broth all over the stove. This recipe is not only rich in sentimental thoughts but is bursting with flavor that compliments the hearty veggies and dumplings as big as your head! I want to thank my dad for giving us these fond memories and I cannot wait until my little guy is big enough to drop dumpling dough into our paprikash 🙂

The dumplings alone are worth five stars. This stew is delicious and will last for days. We like to mash the potatoes and carrots and pour broth over them like a gravy.”

Serves: 6+     Calories: I don’t have a number since this is an old recipe. I will have to      calculate although I cannot imagine it’s a low number… 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 bag of celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of chicken, rinsed and trimmed (we use breasts but you can use thigh or leg too)
  • 1.5 quarts low sodium chicken broth (depending on how much chicken you use you might need 2 quarts.)
  • 1 chicken bullion cube (this is the secret ingredient haha)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp hungarian paprika 
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes, peeled and quartered (you can use red, russet or whatever you like)
  • 1 large bag of carrots, peeled (you can slice or use whole. I like them sliced)
  • 1 bag frozen corn. 
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4-5 eggs (you want the dough to be sticky not dry)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot melt 2 tbsp of butter. When melted add onion, celery and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until onions become transparent.
  2. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides (approx 3-5 minutes) 
  3. Once chicken is browned add chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce heat and bring broth to a simmer. Add bullion, paprika, carrots, potatoes and corn. Cook until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink in the middle (approximately 20-25 minutes)
  5. In a separate bowl mix together flour and eggs until you get a sticky dumpling dough. 
  6. Bring paprikash broth back up to a boil and spoon 1-2 tbsp clumps of dumpling dough into the broth. Let them cook for approximately 3-4 minutes or until no longer gooey in the center.
  7. Spoon into a bowl and enjoy! 

*Photo is an original taken by me

*Recipe belongs to my dad which belonged to my gram before him 🙂

 

 

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Creamy Tomato Sauce – ★★★★✩

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We tend to eat a lot of pasta and while it’s really tasty it is not very good for you. I’ve heard so much about spaghetti squash and had to give it a try. I like squash so it seemed like a great idea. This recipe is really easy to make. You can do it in the microwave or in the oven depending on how much time you have. I cooked it in the oven and it came out great! After we ate what was on our plates I caught Perry in the kitchen scooping straight out of the squash without the sauce he loved it so much. The sauce I made is to die for and would go good on anything. Use it in moderation though because it is carb and dairy heavy. Perry wanted to give this one five stars but I vetoed and gave it 4 because the squash itself, while tasty, had a texture I didn’t 100% like. I’m a weirdo when it comes to texture so don’t take my word until you try it yourself. Here is why Perry would give this recipe five stars:

“The squash was so good just by itself and the sauce just made it that much better. I did not feel guilty eating it and would have ate the whole squash myself if Kels would let me. It has the traditional sweetness that squash usually has and that combined really well with the creamy sauce. I took some for left overs the next day and to my surprise it was even better. This recipe gets full stars from me!”

Serves: 5         Calories: 319

Ingredients:

For Squash:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil (to coat the two halves of squash. about 1/8 cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 3+ oz tomato paste (add to your taste but the more you use add a splash of milk [not heavy cream] to keep it creamy)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut the squash in half (this was a little tough so use a good sharp knife) and scrape out the seeds
  3. Line baking sheet with foil and season the squash with oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Lay flesh side down (seasoned side down) and roast for 30-40 minutes until fully cooked.
  5. When you have about 10 minutes left on your squash combine heavy cream, butter and salt in a large pan over med-high heat. Bring it to a simmer and cook stirring until it is thick enough to coat your spoon (4-5 minutes) Stir in parsley and tomato paste. Remove from heat and add cheese. Keep warm stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping/burning.
  6. Take squash from the oven and let it cool before you handle it. (This is important as we don’t want any injuries!)
  7. When it is cool enough scrape the strands of squash from the skin with a spoon.
  8. Toss squash with your sauce and enjoy!!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Original squash recipe came from http://www.foodnetwork.com

*** Original sauce recipe came from http://www.rachaelraymag.com

Slow Cooker Carnitas

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I experience much stress/anxiety when cooking pork and that is why it has taken me so long to try a pork recipe. I was extremely nervous and half expected this recipe to be a complete disaster (think zombie apocalypse in my crock pot). Long story short, this pork came out so good that we ate the whole thing in the matter of two days… 2 lbs. of pork GONE in 48 hours! We were able to make tacos, nachos and quesadillas with just this one recipe. Once you try it, this recipe is a lot of fun to experiment with. I’ve tried adding other citrus and many variations of hot peppers. Follow this recipe exactly once than refine it to your own tastes. I think that’s why I love cooking so much as it is quite a creative outlet.

Serves: 10+      Calories: 440/serving      Time:

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs boneless skinless pork shoulder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 6 because I love garlic)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • If you like heat also chop up a Serrano pepper and throw it in. HIGHLY RECOMMEND
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions: 

  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper it liberally.
  2. Mix together the oregano, cumin, and olive oil. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Place pork in your slow cooker.
  3. Top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. Squeeze the juice of the orange halves over the layers and add the two halves to the pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours (I cooked it on low and had amazing results).
  5. Once the meat is tender, remove it from the slow cooker and let it cool for a few minutes before pulling it apart with a fork (This is important because if you don’t let it rest you’ll loose the juices of the meat leaving you with dry nastiness)
  6. In a large pan heat the canola oil over high heat. Add the carnitas and cook until crisp on one side. Add back to the crockpot and stir it around to mix in the slow cooked onions and jalapeño.
  7. Make tacos, nachos, quesadillas or anything you crave!
  8. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe can be found at http://www.foodnetwork.com

Blueberry Lemon Droplet Scones with Lemon Glaze – ★★★★★

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I barely make breakfast and thought since I’ve been making great dinners maybe I should try out some breakfast recipes. I wanted something low cal that my son would also eat so with extensive google searching I came across healthy scone recipes. My son doesn’t do nuts so anything walnut/pecan was out. Finally I came to the blueberry lemon scone and it was like magic haha. I couldn’t wait to make these so I woke up early and got baking. The dough was so soft when scooping onto my baking sheet that I knew these scones were going to be extremely moist. The glaze is just enough tangy sweet to make this recipe an absolutely wonderful morning treat. Perry had already left for work this morning when I made them so I will give the star rating for this recipe. 5 stars and here is why:

“Not only does my apartment smell amazing but also my son thinks he just had cake for breakfast. With this being a low cal recipe I was worried that the scones would lack taste and be hard as a rock, but I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into a soft and fluffy middle. I’m used to scones being super dense but these are very different. I love how light they taste with just enough sugary glaze. Seriously these babies are 100% guilt free. I can’t wait for Perry to get home and try one. He has no confidence that I can make breakfast or bake for that matter haha!”

Serves: 14         Calories: 158

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest, divided (1 tsp for dough 1/2 tsp for glaze)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) lemon yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (we had some in our freezer for smoothies so that is what we used. I’m sure this will be even better with fresh blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, baking soda and salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, egg and butter. Stir into bowl of flour mixture until smooth. 
  4. Fold in the blueberries
  5. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls approximately 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  6. Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice and the remaining lemon zest until smooth. Drizzle over warm scones
  7. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe found at http://www.tasteofhome.com